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How Could Big Little Lies's Awkward Dinner Party Get Even More Awkward?

In the penultimate episode of the series, Big Little Lies goes full gross-out.

Well, here we are, folks! The penultimate episode! The first one that I'm writing about not knowing what will come next. It's also the gross-out episode, with corporeal mishaps that make this week dangerously close to National Lampoon's Big Little Lies.

I don't mean that in a bad way, of course! I think this was exactly what we need before we learn who got killed and who's a killer. A little levity before dying, perhaps? And at least one of the indignities couldn't have happened to a nicer person.

What was with that bogus cliffhanger?

At the end of last week's episode, we saw Jane get pulled over following her pot-informed menacing of gay Saxon. Well, turns out that was all for nothing, since all she got was a ticket. Yeah, it sure is nice to be a white lady when the CHP pulls you over, since they're far less likely to look for your little box of joints you smoke in the car or that gun that's illegally concealed in your purse.

While I normally applaud any show that skips tiresome exposition and lets me fill in the blanks on my own, I could use a little more clarification on what exactly went down with Saxon. Did Jane just alarm him? Did she make any physical contact with him? When the cop nabbed her last week, I thought, "Oh man, did she kill him after all?" They could have afforded to spell that out just a little more.

Is Maddy the Nev Schulman of Big Little Lies?

Not to equate her sexual assault to internet chicanery, but Jane needing Maddy to Google Saxon for her is an awful lot like how Catfishees claim to need Nev and Max to come to the nearest Holiday Inn Express to Google their unlikely suitors. Why don't they -- or Jane -- look those dummies up on their own? Does Maddy have some special internet research skill we've never heard discussed on the show? Maybe she's extra-good at it because she's married to a web designer, and to many TV writers anything computery basically lands in the same skillset basket?

Or is it that Jane didn't really want to open that wound and find the man who harmed her? After all, not all those Catfish victims seem completely stupid, so I assume they're willfully avoiding the truth about the objects of their affections. Maybe Jane didn't want to find the object of her misery?

How hard is it to set up a virginity auction?

You don't need Ed's doubtlessly magnificent web design skills to set up a nice-looking website on which to sell your wares -- there are turnkey services that would have gotten Abby's "secret project" up and running in about forty-five minutes. Instead, we hear that she's spending hours on the project, doing...what? Ensuring that her hymen is intact? Writing copy?

Look, I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad idea, especially if she's considering a career in performance art. A project where you document the reaction to your white girl sex auction contrasted with the shrug society gives sex trafficking actually sounds interesting. But, presumably, to actually get that money to Amnesty International, you're going to have to fuck some psycho who ponies up top dollar to bang a NorCal teen. Is that safe or wise? And does spoiled, sullen brat Abby have the self-discipline sex workers (or both the willing and unwilling variety) need to have relations with creepy strangers? She doen't even look like she has the fortitude to empty the dishwasher.

Have you joined me in liking Renata yet?

Renata's NBA-level flop at the school filled me with rage, but her open angst when Jane comes to her house to apologize hit my heart. By the end of that visit, I saw the women start to connect, and the way the two of them gang up on the sycophantic Harper brought me great joy. I really like how honest Renata is being with Jane, admitting to her that Amabella hasn't implicated Ziggy and later explaining her plan "to eliminate suspects." I really do think that, unlike Maddy and some of the other moms, Renata would prefer a life with less drama, not more, and she's finally started to focus on how to achieve that goal.

Will the missing tooth be a clue?

It's weird that I like Celeste as much as I do (and I like her a lot), but I still want to leave the evils of the world on the Wright family's doorstep. I continue to think that Perry is Jane's likely assailant, as his absence from Avenue Q's opening night means that Jane won't lay eyes on him until the fatefully fatal trivia night. And there's something about the way Perry says "Tell me baby, what bad things have happened to you?" as he kisses Celeste's chest that implies a sociopathy even beyond spousal abuse.

HBO

But why oh why are we told that one of the twins has lost a tooth so soon after the revelation of Amabella's bite? Will she unveil another wound in the finale, this one with a telling gap?

Did this show just make me laugh at domestic violence?

Celeste seems heartbreakingly happy that Perry has come home to escort her to the play's opening night, and that he miraculously failed to sulk after she turned down his request that she go with him to Arizona. But his lack of impulse control gets the better of him while they're in the closet, seemingly the setting of many of their confrontations. This time, when Celeste turns Perry down, he's more insistent, grabbing her hair. Her defensive blow, we later learn, causes Perry to "break his urethra" in two places. Which cracked me the hell up.

What's not great, as Celeste earlier suggested to her therapist, is that she only has power in the relationship when she's recently been victimized. We see a flash of what Perry is like when she's lost that power when they return from the hospital, as he growls, "You're lucky I didn't kill you." And just in case you forgot Perry's always about an inch from starting in on the boys, we see him once again snatch away an object of fun (a bag of potato chips in this instance) from them when he's peeved, this time because Celeste had the temerity to leave the house.

Of course, though I cheered and laughed at Perry's damaged dick, I'm also worried: this injury seems easily turned by him into justification for even worse abuse. And, per Celeste's shrink's earlier warning, right now the only Wright who's been hospitalized for domestic trauma is Perry, making any possible custody fight even tougher for Celeste. Oh, well, better just kill him at the school fundraiser!

Was there any way to make this dinner party more awkward?

We've been hearing about this meetup for weeks, and finally it's here! Sure, maybe Nathan and Maddy will fight, or Ed will say something else weird about sweaty women, but it can't get worse than that, can it?

Oh, yes, it can.

Previously.TV

What made Maddy so ill that she threw up not once, not twice, but three times? Was it the half of something she took to calm her nerves? Was it the Adele Sade? Was it the news of Abby's special project? Was it the "yummy" wine?

Previously.TV

Or maybe Jane has just had her fill of Bonnie's helpful fucking suggestions and life advice.

Previously.TV

I definitely don't think it was the shrimp.

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